Autumn in Columbus is awesome. All the leaves are changing colors and the weather is neither too cold nor too hot. I guess it must be the best season of the year. Walking back home after class last night, I was a little emotional. It was cold and wet and the smell of the air just reminded me of Beijing, my hometown. I’m very proud of myself because I could take good care of myself during the past two months and I have never been so independent and strong. Although not everything went as I had expected, I appreciated every single progress I’ve made in the short time I’ve been here. 🙂
To be honest, I sometimes feel upset when I can’t catch up with my professors in class and I’m disappointed with myself whenever I hesitate to raise my hand to answer questions. What used to be so easy is sometimes difficult for me now. Sometimes I don’t have a sense of belonging here and I can’t help missing my friends and parents. I have to say that language is always the biggest challenge for international students. However, I was so glad when my host Don told me that my spoken English has improved a lot in the past couple of months. All the effort I’ve made finally paid off! I’m grateful for what I’ve got. In fact, I have never been regretful for my choice of studying in the USA. Life is amazing here and I love OSU. Just watch the video of our matching band on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAzzbrFgcUw) and we’re still undefeated. (Oh, by the way, I even saw President Obama in person at a campus event a couple of weeks ago.)
I had a great weekend because I just finished my final exams. I bought two chrysanthemums because I happened to pass a lady’s yard on my way to the bus stop. My house looks so cozy with the flowers. Actually, I can see my change/improvement every day. I felt so proud when my classmates said “well-done” after my presentation and when I got my first A in graduate school. I meet different people and I try to step out of my comfort zone. I know everything won’t be easy but I can handle them anyway. I just begin to see everything in a good way.
During the past one month, I have been to two big career fairs of Fisher. Dressed in business professional style and holding a stack of resumes, I definitely looked serious and professional! I have never been to a career fair, so I’m glad to say that it was a great experience for me. As a first year graduate student without much working experience, I found myself initially a little bit confused and timid in the fair. Therefore, I’d love to share some of the tips about the career fair which I learned from both the fair and the career workshops.
Before the Fair (Get fully prepared!)
1. It’s highly recommended to identify your target employers from the career fair guide in advance. (It’s embarrassing if you know nothing about the companies. This happens to me.)
2. You should prepare a few common questions for each company as well as some specific questions for your target companies.
3. Prepare copies of your resume. This may seem obvious but you should be familiar with all things listed in your resume and ready to discuss anything on it at the drop of a hat.
4. In the career fair workshop, we were told to prepare a 30-second introduction which I found quite useful in the fair. (I have to say that I did too much self-introduction in the fair. I’m working on improving this!)
5. As for international students, some knowledge of OPT and CPT is required because we have to face this annoying/constant question.
6. Check FisherConnect before the fair because it’s possible that some companies are already open to application even before the fair.
During the Fair (Get fully involved!)
1. You must be confident and show your passion and strengths to your target companies.
2. There are some who recommend that you could start with some “smaller” companies before you are ready to head for your dream employers. It’s like a warm-up!
3. Avoid making just self introductions again and again. Ask specific questions to show your interest in each company.
4. Don’t be too shy to ask for some gifts provided by the company. Some of the gifts are really cute. (You can ignore this tip :-))
After the Fair (It’s not over yet!)
1. Always remember to follow-up!
2. Basically, most job positions need the process of online application. Therefore, you still need to check carefully online even if you’ve already handed in your resume in the fair.
3. You can send a thank you email (with your cover letter and resume attached) to the employers you met at the fair and/or connect to them in LinkedIn.
4. Take some time to think what you’ve learned from the fair and try to improve next time.
5. Don’t lose confidence if you failed to find any luck in the fair, especially for international students. It’s just a single event – you will have more opportunities. Have faith in yourself!
I hope I find my summer internship successfully. Good luck everyone!
My roommate and I were invited to a weekly fellowship/Bible discussion gathering last Friday, which was held by IFI. I met Sally and Jim and they volunteered to drive us to the church and later I also joined their discussion group.
I didn’t expect that there would be so many students in the church and the hall was super lively and crowded. They were all enjoying the homemade Chinese and American food when I arrived. It was hard not to be excited when you saw those Chinese fry rice and traditional food and it seemed that the stir-fried bean sprout was the most popular dish. 🙂 My first impression was that people in the church are warm-hearted and generous.
The singing part began after the dinner. Led by a band, we sang a few beautiful songs. Well, actually, I was just listening because all the songs were new to me and I couldn’t follow them. But immersed in the music, I felt touched.
The Bible reading part was the most interesting part. Led by our group leaders Sally and Jim, all of us first made a self-introduction and then were asked to talk about one happy thing and one bad thing happened this week. It’s really funny to hear other people’s stories. Some students were worried about their readings and one girl was driven crazy by the cockroach in her kitchen. Sharing was one part of the discussion. After then, we read the first few pages of the Bible which talked about the very beginning of human beings. This story was not unfamiliar with me since I have read it before. The discussion part was pretty cool. When we were talking about God, the creator of human beings, we even discussed whether there was “God of God,” an entity who may have created God. In fact, we had no answer to most of the questions.
It was one of our teammates’ 20th birthday that night. We sang the Chinese happy birthday song for him and a boy in our group played the saxophone for him, which was quite touching. I guessed it would be a special birthday for him. The last part of the discussion was the praying part. Sally listed all the things we wanted to pray for and I just wished everybody good luck for everything.
I can’t believe that it’s already been two weeks since I left home. It seems that I’m still full of curiosity and am eager to explore my new life in OSU. So fortunately I’ve got no time to get homesick. Looking back on the past two weeks, I had an amazing experience here and I really want to share with you.
On the date of my arrival, our flight had a terrible delay (7 hours late). Fortunately, I had contacted a host family through IFI and I felt so relaxed when I saw Don, my host, holding a sign with my name on it. I met my host family Jennifer and Don later and they picked me up at the airport after midnight. It’s so nice to have them after a long and tiring flight. I’ve stayed with them for three days and I was treated like a family member. Their help and concern made me feel so warm, especially for a girl who just left her hometown and stepped on a new country.
MY ACCOMMODATION—UNIVERSITY VILLAGE
I’ve booked my apartment in University Village three months before arrival. UV is a nice choice for international graduate students. It is not far from the campus and the UV shuttle runs every 20 minutes to take students to the campus. There is a supermarket “Kroger” and a department store “Big Lots” located just outside the village. However, it’s a totally empty apartment without any single furniture so my biggest target was to find a mattress to sleep on.
Orientation week was super busy and exciting. One of the most interesting things that I remember was the “O-H-I-O” slogan (when one person shouts “O-H”, the other person must respond with “I-O”) Well, that’s the spirit of OSU. As for my program’s orientation, I was quite impressed. The MHRM(MLHR) program is highly career-oriented. We were asked to write the resume, marketing plan and cover letter during summer holidays and were suggested to get prepared for job interviews even before our first class. Some senior students and alumni were invited to the orientation to give us a good understanding of the program and help us set expectation and goals. Though a little puzzled and nervous, I found the Career Management Office helpful and it’s exciting to think that I could find an internship in the USA.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNT
The first semester has already begun and I’m still trying to get used to the new model of teaching in the USA. Each class involves lots of interaction and it’s impossible not to get involved. I understand that it won’t be easy for international students because of the barrier of language and culture. Every day, I encourage myself to step out of my comfort zone and do more networking. Everything is hard in the beginning, but I believe that I will make a big progress if I keep trying.